Victorian Tunnelling Centre

The Victorian Tunnelling Centre (VTC) at Holmesglen Institute's Drummond Street campus trains and upskills thousands of workers in underground construction and tunnelling. Training up to 5,000 learners annually, the Australian-first tunnelling facility ensures that Victorians are leaders in underground construction, operations and workplace health and safety. 

The Victorian Tunnelling Centre is located at Holmesglen Institute’s Drummond Street campus in Chadstone, where it offers specialist training to workers in the construction and operation of a variety of tunnels including rail, road, and utilities tunnels.

The new facility includes a replica mined tunnel and a replica rail/Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) tunnel similar to the Metro Tunnel, with a full-height entrance, two multi-purpose engineering workrooms and training facilities including tunnel shaft and concrete lining spray simulators, as well as augmented and virtual reality experiences. A cutterhead, a refuge chamber and the only four-motion bridge and gantry crane located in a TAFE also form part of the facility.

The Australian-first tunnelling training centre is training thousands of workers as part of the Victorian Government's rail projects. 


February 2020

Victorian Tunnelling Centre (VTC) opens its doors – an Australian first facility to train and upskill thousands of workers in underground construction and tunnelling.

November 2021

First cohort of trainees graduate from the VTC and working on Melbourne’s CYP Metro Tunnel Project.

February 2023

Commenced inductions workforce- SPARK 1st package of North East Link Project.

November 2023

5,000th trainee graduates from VTC since operation commenced.

Frequently asked questions

Tours are now being conducted at the Victorian Tunnelling Centre. These tours have been designed to raise awareness and introduce primary and secondary students, job seekers and career changers to the careers, pathways, and what it is like to work in tunnel construction and tunnel operations.

Each cohort’s tour has been designed around VTC’s state of the art replica training facilities, Simulators, VR and AR experiences. All experiences are led by industry experts with extensive knowledge in civil and tunnelling construction and operations, and virtual and augmented reality.

Funded by Rail Projects Victoria, the Victorian Tunnelling Centre was built to support Victorians who want to gain the skills and knowledge required for work on major projects, such as the Metro Tunnel, Suburban Rail Loop, and North East Link. Also, it was established to provide training for workers on other major projects across Australia. Prior to the construction of the Victorian Tunnelling Centre, there was not a purpose-built training facility in Australia to provide training in the construction and operation of rail, traffic and utility tunnels.

Tradespeople who are constructing tunnels, including Tunnel Boring Machine Operators, Roadheader Operators, Long Drill Operators, can undertake training. The Victorian Tunnelling Centre can also train other workers specialising in underground work to remove spoil, undertake rock bolting and shotcreting and other support roles required in the construction and operation of transport and utilities tunnels.

The Victorian Tunnelling Centre provides a wide range of training services required in the construction and operation of tunnel projects. This includes accredited training in Civil Construction (Tunnelling), Work, Health and Safety, focused on tunnelling and other major projects.

The Centre also offers Industrial Skills licencing in Bridge and Gantry Crane Operation, Dogging and Rigging, Elevated Work Platform Operation, Telehandler Operation, Skid Steer, Front End Loader and Excavator, Scaffolding and Fork Lift Operation. Short duration training is also provided in the operation of long drill and cable bolting for novice operators and verification of competency of experienced drill and bolt operators, plus training in rescue and survival techniques for underground operations.

The Victorian Tunnelling Centre uses a wide range of equipment and extended reality technologies to deliver training. Above all, when the training and assessment activities are designed, we attempt to create scenarios and environments that relpicate what workers will encounter when constructing and operating tunnels. However, when developing these scenarios, they are done in a manner that removes the risk of injury to the trainee.

For example, the tunnel boring machine (TBM) that trainees work with is virtual yet, when using mixed reality, the trainee is able to explore every part of the TBM, be provided with explanation as to how each of its parts operate and then undertake self-assessments in order to determine the level of learning they have achieved.

The training facility at the Victorian Tunnelling Centre is unmatched in Australia. It features two tunnels, one 25-metre long by 7.2 m diameter segment-lined tunnel. This has been constructed with segments to match the metro tunnel under construction in Melbourne. It is presently fitted to replicate what is being installed in the metro tunnel.

The second tunnel is 25 metres long by a 13.5 diameter (equivalent to a two-lane road traffic tunnel). The construction method demonstrated in the tunnel replicates that of a tunnel constructed using a long drill and blast method or Roadheader, and is lined with shot-crete. In this tunnel, we have a underground refuge chamber (Australian designed and constructed). This chamber enables underground workers to experience and be trained in underground emergency and rescue procedures and techniques in a controlled environment. This includes the operation of the refuge chamber, rescue breather use, underground fire fighting and other related activities.

There are two other purpose-designed workshops in the Victorian Tunnelling Centre, a dry training and a wet training area. The wet training area is used to train workers in the use and application of grouts, waterproofing, shot-crete and other wet material construction techniques used in tunnelling construction.The centrepiece of the dry training area is the four-motion bridge and gantry crane. This type of crane is the most widely used type of crane on tunnelling construction projects and the VTC is the only training provider in Australia with a four-motion gantry crane.

The dry training area is also used for firefighting training, using a simulated fire fighting system that can set different fire types/intensity of fire and assess the capability of the learner to effectively control/extinguish the fire. Using this system has enabled Holmesglen to eliminate the use of chemical extinguishers in training process, saving the cost of recharging extinguishers and eliminating the possibility of toxic chemicals entering the nearby waterways.

The VTC simulation centre utilises simulators, Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) to deliver training in the operation of long drill, cable bolter, and excavator (Simulators); tunnel boring machines, roadheaders, dump trucks, drill rigs, shotcrete rigs are safely operated and maintained, in addition to working safely in tunnels and a history of mined tunnels.Virtual reality is used for the underground site induction, firefighting, understanding and identifying hazards in the workplace and mitigating/eliminating these hazards. Overall, the Victorian Tunnelling Centre facilities aim to provide tunnelling training in a safely controlled environment.

The specialist training facilities provided at the Victorian Tunnelling Centre enable us to provide education and training services to individuals and organisations across a wide range of tunnel construction types and the skills and knowledge to work safely underground to deliver these projects on time and on budget.

The Victorian Tunnelling Centre is being used to train new and existing workers in the skills they required to build and operate tunnels. It is also used to undertake applied research in the use of Building Information Modelling and Ground Penetrating.

The Victorian Tunnelling Centre is a purpose-built-facility and the only one of its kind in Australia. In fact, there are only four of its kind in the world. The VTC contains two tunnels both 25 metres in length and constructed to replicate mined tunnel and tunnel boring machine techniques. Within both tunnels scenarios can be run that simulate what it is like to work in an underground environment.

To accommodate the replica training facilities and give an experience as close to the real thing as possible, the VTC has also adopted state-of-the-art simulators and augmented and virtual reality. These experiences have been designed to cover all aspects of tunnelling operations. Partnered with the replica training facilities, the VTC also offers an immersive experience in underground tunnelling and operations.

For more information, contact us on 1300 639 111 or email

Victorian Tunnelling Centre training thousands of local workers

The $16 million Victorian Tunnelling Centre is located at Holmesglen’s Drummond Street campus.